David Wood was the Gazette Athletic Correspondent for Blackpool, Wyre & Fylde AC (BWF AC) for many years providing detailed reports of the athletic achievements of many club members over that period and therefore it is with great sadness that BWF AC has to announcing his passing earlier this month.
David was a Blackpool lad attending Thames Road Infant School before moving on to Palatine and upon leaving joined the Civil Service where he worked all his life. He became interested in running in the early 1990s, initially joining Red Rose Road Runners, but in 1995 transferred to North Fylde AC (NFAC) based at the Norcross Social Security Offices.
He soon made a name for himself with his friendly manner and keenness to compete and would always volunteer to make up the team if it was short. He was an athlete you knew would never let you down and if he said he would compete he would be there – a true man of his word.
When NFAC & Blackpool & Fylde AC merged in 2006 to form BWF AC David’s running career was coming to a close due to injury. However, instead of disappearing as so many do, he found a new interest in Sports Photography and over the years honed this skill producing excellent photos of club members in action and also those in the other local clubs. He would then offer his photos to the clubs for their websites, social media pages and to the athletes themselves at no cost at all.
He had a keen interest in the performances of the Junior athletes and would often talk to them and their parents about their achievements and hopes for the future. He became a fixture at the local Inter Club Series, the Lancashire AA Championships and the Mid Lancs Association fixtures popping up with his camera in the most unexpected of places. He usually travelled by public transport utilising the bus and train services rather than asking for a lift.
When parkrun came to the Fylde Coast David was one of the first to offer his services and became a regular volunteer (225 times) at the Saturday Lytham Hall parkrun and then at the Sunday Junior Parkrun at Park View taking photos which the parents of the young runners all really appreciated. He also became involved with coaching the growing Junior Section at Lytham St Annes Road Runners every Monday night earning a place in their hearts at the same time.
His untimely and tragic death has left many in the Fylde running community and beyond in tears and shock as they start to come to terms with the fact that David is no longer with us. He crossed the club boundaries in a way that not many have done before with his own unique style and interest in others. He was a lesson for us all in that it is not the Club that really counts but the love of running and athletics that unites us into one caring body and that is what his photos portrayed – runners battling in competition but friends and comrades at the finish line.
David – your race is over but your deeds and actions will live on as BWF AC and the other local clubs look to honour your name.